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A Lithuanian take on latkes

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Miriam Amdur photo
All photos by Miriam Amdur

When I told my grandparents I’d be sharing our family latke recipe, they were ecstatic, nostalgic, and ready to peel. Even though these latkes have become crucial to our Hanukkah dinners, I’d only ever been on the eating side of the process. Luckily, the treat that I always looked forward to as a kid, is simple to make.

 

We started off peeling, mixing, and soon enough my grandparents were sharing stories about the Soviet Union. They reminded me that it’s easy to make latkes now because of the food processor, but that their families had to use more primitive tactics. My grandpa then joked that perhaps in their old age they should start a latke business, a venture that I’m sure would have potato lovers drooling. For now, I can’t wait for you to recreate it!

 

This recipe is typical of Lithuanian-Jewish cuisine, yet despite being delectable, it remains rather unpopular in North America. These latkes are thin and small, essentially meaning you can eat more than usual while still topping them off with sour cream. They should only take about an hour to make, so you don’t have to worry, you’ll be eating before you know it.

Miriam’s grandparents show off their finished product.

 

Ingredients

 

– 6 medium sized potatoes

– 2 eggs

– 1 tbsp olive oil

– 3 big tbsps. of kefir

– 3 tbsps. of flour

– 1 ½ tsp of sugar

– 1 tsp of salt

– Grapeseed oil for the pan

 

Instructions

 

  1. Peel the potatoes and place them in a pot of water to wash. Remove the potatoes from the water and place them in a dry bowl.
  2. Chop the potatoes into medium sized cubes.
  3. Place the potatoes into the food processor and blend until pureed. This should take about 30 seconds. Ensure that there are no chunks.
  4. Pour the potato puree into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and add them to the potatoes along with the olive oil and kefir. Mix the ingredients together well.
  5. Add the flour to the mixture and blend with a spoon. Do not add too much flour as this will create thick latkes. Once the mixture is smooth, add sugar, salt, and do a final mix.
  6. Preheat a pan on medium-heat with grapeseed oil. Once the oil is sizzling the pan is ready.
  7. Gently scoop one tbsp of the latke mixture and place it onto the pan. Repeat this until the pan has about 5 or 6 latkes. Make sure to leave enough space between them or they may stick. Flip the latkes after about 30 seconds. Once both sides are golden-brown the latke is ready.